Originality is for artists

There are no prizes for originality in business. There is no shame in copying others, sorry – idea borrowing. So many aspiring entrepreneurs say they are just waiting for a great idea. The original idea for them to launch a startup under. I was once this person too. And I was so very wrong. I learned the hard way by losing half a million in venture funding that originality is over rated. I’m convinced highly original ideas increase our probability of financial failure.

The startup blog view is this: originality is for artists.

Let me explain. People want change they can cope with, and so the business world (consumers) are most likely to reward incremental improvements. Ideas which people can cope with. Ideas that are easy to spread because the audience has a reference point. Something to switch to, a substitute. Yes, radical products and services can be a success, but they are so rare (especially with low and self funded businesses) that it is tactically foolish to chase them. We ought leave that to large corporations, and heavily VC backed startups.

It comes back to our objective – do we want to run a business, or be original? It’s rare to achieve both, so make the choice early and know whether you are an artist or an entrepreneur.